October 25th, 2015

andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara

Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara
Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (May 26, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161922951X
ISBN-13: 978-1619229518
Amazon: Song of the Navigator
Amazon Kindle: Song of the Navigator

Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover. Tover Duke's rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine. He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind-the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life-is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he's something much more. When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it's with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind-and his heart-is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

This has to be one of the best books I've ever read. The otherworldly settings were fascinating, believable, and well-described. The plot moved quickly and steadily along and Amara did not pull any punches when it came to the violence of Tover's incarceration. But this violence was balanced by the pure joy of some of Amara's characters and the love between Tover and Cruz. The characters were deep and interesting. I thrilled at their successes and mourned when they felt pain. Tover's transition from arrogant rock star to “terrorist” was believable and took time. He did not change easily, but had to overcome his own beliefs. I adored him, because he never lost his attitude. I only wish that we could have seen more of Cruz's inner life. Amara's writing style was quick and easy to follow, allowing me to consume this novel in a single day. 

I loved this story, primarily because it didn't take the easy way out of many stories with similar plots. I loved the addition of Hispanic touches to the characters and the world they lived in, and there were quite a few lovely little details. The character reactions were believable, and the panic and aftermath of torture was realistic and honest without being maudlin or controlling. Setting and plot could have used a bit of sharpening but I really enjoyed this book

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Memoir in the Making by Adrian J. Smith

Memoir in the Making by Adrian J. Smith
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC (May 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193810854X
ISBN-13: 978-1938108549
Amazon: Memoir in the Making
Amazon Kindle: Memoir in the Making

The first day of her junior year in college was supposed to go off without a hitch. But when Ainsley Jacobs sat in her memoir class with a professor she'd never had before, her life took an unexpected turn. She couldn't get her well-dressed professor, Meredith Frenz, out of her head. Meredith had lived a lonely yet comfortable life for the past fifteen years, and despite flings here and there, she had no desire to jump head first into a relationship, especially one with her student. Despite all her thwarted efforts, Meredith was determined to keep to herself and push Ainsley away. Forbidden love is often the most attractive.

I don't think I've ever read a book that made me smile so much. It was like a guilty pleasure minus all the guilt. With a well written story and well fleshed out characters, this book was a joy to read.

I liked the may/december aspect and that it wasn't just there for show but they really had to make an effort to work it out. Both MC's really went through a remarkable character growth. This was a very character-driven novel.

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Would I Lie to You? by Brad Vance

Would I Lie to You? by Brad Vance
Gay Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 24, 2015
Amazon Kindle: Would I Lie to You?

Software billionaire Marc Julian’s orderly life is shattered one night by a cyber-intrusion into his company’s servers. He’s always surrounded himself with the best people, but finding the culprit behind this might require a real expert...and sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief.

Jesse Winchester and his team of “grey hat” hackers are suddenly available to Marc. Marc doesn’t know if he should trust Jesse with the keys to his company’s kingdom. After all, Jesse’s a convicted felon, sent to prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. A felon sentenced to thirty-five years in prison, who mysteriously served only three years before being released…

Marc’s first company, his whole life, was shattered because he trusted the wrong person. This time there’s even more at stake, but few other options. Especially when his evil enemies, the billionaire industrialist Krom brothers, are revealed to be the source of the intrusion.

Is Jesse there to help Marc, or does he have his own history with the Kroms, his own score to settle? As Jesse and Marc spend more time together, their growing intimacy is at war with their need to win their respective battles. Soon the game they start to play with each other, against each other, becomes more exciting, more exquisitely frustrating…and more dangerous.

Very enjoyable read. I loved the chemistry between Marc and Jesse, great character development all the way around.  Well written story and intriguing mystery. First book I've read by this author, but won't be the last. Looking forward to the next one.

Highly original, hugely intricate and enjoyable plot dealing with tech, romance, alpha males and trust. The hacking and deception plot kept you guessing, while the past histories of the characters played out in flashback worked really well. Every character was well drawn and defined, and the story rattled along with some hot sex scenes too. Highly recommended.

This story was engaging and flowed really well. The plot was interesting and full of well researched detail. The story was not peppered with pointless sex scenes and the characters' back stories slotted in perfectly.

I like some plot with my romance and this one had it -- things happen! Although the story had D/s elements, it wasn't about D/s, which I appreciated. The extended multi-chapter flashbacks were initially annoying, but the information was engaging. I read another book by this author where he employed the same device, so it may be SOP for him.

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andrew potter

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Winter on Spring Street by Stacey Darlington

Winter on Spring Street by Stacey Darlington
Lesbian Paranormal Romance
Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Melange Books (June 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1680461273
ISBN-13: 978-1680461275
Amazon: Winter on Spring Street
Amazon Kindle: Winter on Spring Street

If you were a witch, how far would you go to make someone love you? If you knew magic, would you use it? What if the love spell turns to lust? Former singer superstar, Raven Viramonte, knows. After her career comes crashing to a halt, Raven seeks refuge in the creepy central Florida bungalow she buys, sight unseen. When Rocky, Raven's sister, calls with the news of their mother's ill health, Raven must return to the family owned apartment building she despises, on 88 Spring Street, Connecticut, the tomb of her darkest secrets.

The story of Raven Viramonte was full of angst, sex, magic, inner healing, rage, strength, sapphic beauty, and music, all so well-written that I found myself feeling the emotions with "Red". The setting was so wonderfully described I could taste the pizza from Celiini's, feel the leaves crunching beneath my shoes on 88 Spring Street, and taste the liquor Red shared with Redbone while sitting on the hard bench outside in the hot Florida sun. The author, Stacey Darlington, did an amazing job with delving deeply into each character that Red had some sort of emotional, physical, or sexual reaction to, which is something not a lot of authors do. I'm glad she did, however, because Red was sooo angry and suffered such violent panic attacks and volatile reactions to people that it was difficult to not think that Angelique was correct in her assessment that Raven was crazy. Through the author's engaging writing style we are given a satisfactory ending to a story filled with heartbreak and plot twists. The story wasn't perfect, there was a little too much time spent on Red describing the exterior of the apartment building on 88 Spring Street every time she saw it which was a lot. There were times where the story dragged, and even points where I felt as if the author were beating a dead horse in regards to the abuse Red suffered at the hands of her mother, but none of that detracted enough from the book to make me give it an high score.

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